DUNCANNON, Pa. (CN) - The accidental shooting of a 12-year-old girl by a Pennsylvania constable enforcing an eviction Monday has brought more scrutiny on the role of these elected officials.
Reports say Constable Clark Steele had come to the Meyer family's door at the Pfautz Apartments in Duncannon, several miles north of Harrisburg, on Monday morning to serve an eviction order.
When 57-year-old Donald Meyer pulled a loaded rifle on the constable, Steele fired a single shot from his own .40 caliber weapon, according to articles citing police statements.
The bullet 46-year-old Steele fired reportedly went through Meyer's arm and into the chest of the tenant's 12-year-old daughter, Ciara Meyer, who had been home sick from school and was standing behind him.
Reports say the girl's father was flown to Hershey Medical Center for treatment after the shooting and has been charged with counts including aggravated assault, simple assault, terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person.
The Associated Press reports that the Meyer family does not have "any hard feelings" toward Steele, who was elected constable in 2015.
CNN quoted Bill Stoeffler, of the Commonwealth Constables Association, as saying Steele "is heartsick and heartbroken over the outcome."
It's "every constable's absolute worst nightmare," Stoeffler added.
The shooting has reportedly raised questions about the roles of constables in Pennsylvania, an office entrusted with such duties as serving warrants, transporting prisoners and collecting fines.
The state Supreme Court sought to increase oversight and accountability over constables with a set of rules unveiled in 2013, Penn Live reports.
Citing state Supreme Court records and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the article says constables can but art not required to carry firearms. Those who do must undergo 40 hours of basic firearms training and 20 hours of continuing training every year thereafter.
A gofundme page created by Ciara Meyer's mother says the family is creating a scholarship fund in the girl's name, after covering funeral expenses.
"The vast majority is to fund a memorial scholarship in Ciara's name," the page states. "We intend that she never be forgotten, and her life and death help others who are in need. While her death was not the result of domestic violence, the family issues and mental illness that surrounded her and lead to this tragedy certainly qualifies. If in some small way her memorial fund can help other victims that the cause is a worthy one."
Ciara Meyer was a student at the Susquenita School District in Perry County.
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